Hen and the Art of Chicken Maintenance Paperback – 1 Sep 2003
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For Martin Gurdon chickens have featured throughout his life - albeit intermittently. Entranced as a child, captivated by chicks of another variety during adolescence before finally returning to his first, feathered love when leaving London for the country. With his dry wit, perfect pitch of pride and paternalism, his timely sense of humour and eye for the wry, he will entertain you with his chicken tales till you are all cried out and curled in a ball on the floor from laughter. From Mike the Headless Chicken of Colorado who survived a botched decapitation for an obscenely long amount of time and whose life is still celebrated today in annual festivals across the state, to the highly-strung Yvette, doyenne of the baby bouncer before turning into a doyen.. The bullied Gerald and the psychotic BB and a whole host of others, for all Martin's hens are named and obviously loved despite their many shortcomings. Huge vet bills are paid without complaint in an attempt to heal them while physiotherapy and psychotherapy are all par for the course. But above all, they become almost human in Martin's literary hands and the agony and anguish of their perils is lived to the full. A must for chicken lovers and a must for anyone with a wicked sense of humour - this is the funniest book I have read all year. - Lucy Watson
Owning chickens is becoming the latest in metropolitan chic, proving that you don't need to be a farmer to raise poultry. This book chronicles both the pleasures and the myriad pitfalls of chicken-keeping. Written from first-hand experience, this is a quirky introduction to the feather-clad soap opera primal urges, pecking order rituals, gender-bending and huge vet bills.See all Product description
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A year ago we aquired 7 Pekin Bantam hens of various flavours, who live free range in our back garden and who put themselves to bed each night in a lovely coup. We, as a family are now totally converted hen keepers and wished we had had them years ago. Martin Gurdon's book really struck a cord with us all. We can see ourselves doing daft things with our hens just as he does. Like spending large sums of money at the vet should we need to on a favourite hen which only cost us £15. There isn't a lot of information in terms of practical hen keeping, go and consult a manual on hen keeping if you want that. This book is full of very funny stories around being a hen owner.
I can highly recommend this book simply as a very funny book. I can also highly recommend keeping a few hens too. I often come home from work in the afternoon to find our favourite lavender Pekin sitting on my daughter's knee watching the Disney channel with her. The eggs they produce are pretty fantastic as well.
In a world where there isn't much to laugh about at the moment, we could all do with reading Martin Gurdons's book.
Chapter 2 starts with the words: "The sort of chicken-keeping we were embarking on can be summed up in three words: 'twee' and 'middle class." And I read those words with recognition, not embarrassment. My two ex-Tesco hybrid waifs are currently strutting their stuff around our ill-prepared garden, and laying an average of 9 eggs a week between the two of them.
This book is for people like me. I have recently ordered 2 more copies of this for my newly chickenified friends. Why? Because of its honesty. Because of the little snippets of chicken care secrets. Because of the kindness in this book. Because it's worth its weight in eggy gold!
Well written, and an amusing look at a topic which is usually tackled in a dry and boring manner, but that doesn't make it a fulfilling book.
Better to dip into than expect to provide a good lengthy read.
I agree with another reviewer who said this book can help you make up your mind about having chickens, as it gives the ups and downs and the no nonsense and the you've got to really want to do this kind of thing information woven into the humour. But I think there are quite a few good lessons to be learnd and chix health tips I'd not heard of before, so I'd recommend it also as a way to get some good chicken rearing information.